Daily Newspaper and Travel Guide
for Pecos Country of West Texas
Friday, April 7, 2000
County jail ordered shut down by state
By SMOKEY BRIGGS
PECOS, April 7, 2000 - The Texas Commission on Jail Standards gave
Reeves County Sheriff Andy Gomez 15 days to shut down the Reeves County
Jail because of on-going violations of state standards.
"These have been problems since I've been in office, or at least since
1994," Gomez said following the commission's decision on Thursday. "I've
been before the commissioners court time, and time again, and I can't get
"I can't fix these problems. Only the commissioners can let the contracts
necessary to make these repairs, and that hasn't happened. All I can do
is ask for it, and I have. At this point, I'm fed up," he added.
According to Gomez, the primary problems are out-of-standard cell locks,
plumbing problems, and not enough showers.
"We have been written up on some other matters, but we can and have
corrected these deficiencies," Gomez said.
Gomez said that in a surprise inspection by the Jail Commission on February
24, the jail was found wanting in several areas other than the cell locks
and plumbing problems, but that these were easily remedied.
"We had not been documenting our fire drills and emergency generator
checks, among other things," he said. "We also had not had our classification
plan, our health services plan, and our facility handbook approved, but
these were submitted to the Commission back in October. They weren't approved
on February 24, but had been approved by the Commission before the hearing
"The real problems, the ones we are being shut down for, are the cell
locks and the plumbing problems, and I can't fix these," he said.
Gomez said the locks were a safety issue.
"Right now we have to manually unlock every cell. In case of fire, we
need to be able to open all the cells at once electronically," he said.
"We also need two showers for every eight cells to meet state standards.
Right now we only have one. And the plumbing is just old. It is terrible.
When you flush a toilet the waste tends to just show up in the next toilet
down the line."
Gomez laid the blame for the situation squarely in the lap of the county
commissioners and County Judge Jimmy Galindo.
"The money for these repairs has been in the jail's budget for at least
two years. In 1998, the commissioners said that they would build an addition
to the jail and do the necessary repairs at the same time. And nothing
has happened since then."
"The commissioners authorized the solicitation of bids for the work
last summer and they got bids back. But no action has been taken. Now we
are here and the jail is being shut down," he said.
County Auditor Lynn Owens confirmed that the county had solicited bids
for the repairs through Banes General Contractors, Inc. in June or July
of 1999. Banes is the contractor that is overseeing the Reeves County Detention
Center expansion project.
"I believe they just piggy-backed the jail bids with the bids for the
prison project," Owens said. "I know they received bids on the jail work.
What the commissioners did with them, I don't know."
Why, or if, the commissioners and Judge Galindo have not taken action,
or have been proverbially dragging their feet on the issue, remains unanswered.
Galindo was out of town today, and he and some county commissioners
were unavailable for comment before press time. In the interest of fairness,
the Enterprise is holding the publication of comments concerning
causes and blame for the situation, until a better effort can be made to
contact all concerned parties.
As for the future of the jail, Gomez said that he would appeal the Commission's
ruling, but that he didn't know what it would take for the decision to
"I don't have a lot of hope that we can win on appeal," he said. "If
we don't win, the jail must be closed in 15 days."
OC campus project running on schedule
By ROSIE FLORES
PECOS, April 7, 2000 - Things are running smoothly and on schedule
at the construction site for the new Odessa College-Pecos Campus.
"It's looking so nice in there," said Pecos Campus Director Michelle
Workman about the former White's Auto Center building, which is due to
be completed sometime this summer.
Construction is going as planned and things are running really well,
according to Economic Development Director Gari Ward. He said construction
employees are working diligently in getting the campus ready for the fall
"We'll be having some summer courses, but the entire building won't
be completely ready for the summer," said Workman.
The building, which housed the Pecos Autoplex after White's closed,
was donated by Dr. Norman Harris to be used as a campus for Odessa College.
"This is a big building, it has 26,000 square feet," said Ward.
Inside the facility, a science lab, a computer room, lounge, restrooms
and classrooms will be housed.
"The majority of the right (south) side of the building is completed,"
said Workman. "The learning labs still need to be installed, bring the
ceiling down and some painting done."
The left hand side, which will hold the vocational area, hasn't been
completed yet, Workman said, "But I can't believe the construction phase
is going so fast and smoothly."
"We're very excited about it and we can't wait to move," said Workman,
who will have an office at the facility, to better serve the community.
Other plans from Odessa College are in the works.
Robert Munoz, the college's Dean of Workforce and Continuing Education
has also been visiting Pecos. "I went out to Anchor West, because they
want us to implement a supervisory training through OC," he said.
"We work closely with Gari (Ward)," he said.
Munoz said his office provides customized training for companies. "To
meet their needs," said Munoz. "We use full-time instructors that use the
latest in management supervision."
He said this was his first meeting with Anchor officials, but certainly
not the last. "We'll continue to work with them," he said.
Munoz also met with Reeves County Judge Jimmy Galindo to discuss plans
for programs at the Reeves County Detention Center.
"We met with him about expanding programs that we already offer and
possibly look at helping the full-time employees with continuing education,"
he said. "Another thing we'll be doing is possibly expanding what we already
offer the inmates."
Munoz said he's been checking on some things for the facility and will
be sending out the information on the ideas that his office has.
"We also have the traditional computer classes that we offer, but we
also want to help businesses and help bring them in," he said.
"We're also looking for instructors in the area, who are qualified and
would like to help," said Munoz.
Munoz stated that they want to become a part of the community and help
"The relationship has always been there, we just want to improve on
it," he said.
Board supports non-renewal of teacher pacts
By ROSIE FLORES
PECOS, April 7, 2000 - Pecos-Barstow-Toyah school board approved two
resolutions without comment supporting the non-renewal of two teachers'
contracts during a special meeting of the board Thursday evening.
Members met briefly to discuss personnel and meet with the board's attorney
about the non-renewal of the contracts. The meeting started at 6 p.m. and
concluded at 6:20 p.m.
Board members met behind closed doors first and in open session board
president read out the two motions discussed and approved by the board.
The first motion was, "Whereas the Board of Trustees voted on March
9, to send notice of proposed non-renewal to Mrs. Brenilda Bauer; and whereas
as directed by the Board of Trustees, the Superintendent send notice of
proposed non-renewal to Mrs. Brenilda Bauer on March 20; and whereas the
employee received the notice on March 11 and has not requested a hearing
as required by Texas Education Code Section 21.207.
"I move that the board non-renew the term contract for Mrs. Brenilda
Bauer for the 2000-2001 school year pursuant to Section 21.208 and direct
the superintendent to give written notice of the non-renewal of the contract,"
said board member Frank Apolinar.
The motion was seconded by board member Freddy Lujan and approved unanimously.
The second motion read the same but was directed at Mr. Bruce Bauer.
"I move that the Board non-renew the term contract of Mr. Bruce Bauer
for the 2000-2001 school year pursuant to Section 21.208 and direct the
Superintendent to give written notice of the non-renewal of the contract,"
stated board member Brent Shaw. The motion was seconded by Louis Matta
and approved by all board members.
The school board offered no reason for the termination of the Bauers'
contracts following the executive session. The item was the only one on
Fifth grader kids take home regional science fair honors
By ROSIE FLORES
PECOS, April 7, 2000 - Bessie Haynes students fared very well at the
recent Regional Science Fair held in Odessa, bringing home several honors,
including a first place award.
"We had more students win this year than we have had for as long as
I can remember," said science fair director Diane Paz.
Eleanor Mason, one of the fifth grade winners, won first place in Fifth
Grade Chemistry and a special award from the National Association of Corrosion
Engineers. Her project, "Bac-Terminator," was a study of which household
cleanser most effectively kills bacteria. This is Mason's second year to
take top honors at the Regional Fair.
Mason placed second last year and also received the National Association
of Corrosion Engineers award.
She stated that she enjoys science and plans to use science in the future.
"I plan to be a veterinarian when I graduate from high school and that
needs a degree in science to do that," Mason said.
"Science is my best subject and it's so interesting," she said.
She is the daughter of Socorro and Mike Mason.
Only winners from local science fairs are allowed to participate in
the Regional Fair so the Bessie Haynes students were competing with winners
from local science fairs all around the Permian Basin.
There were 116 fifth graders entered in the competition this year.
Second place in Fifth Grade Behavioral and Social Science was awarded
to "Rainbow Cheese," a project by Dina Ortiz and Crystal Ikeler. Their
project was an investigation into whether the power of suggestion really
affects people's choices.
"Dina was the one that thought of this project," said Ikeler.
"And it really does work, the power of suggestion really affects people
choices," said Ortiz.
Ortiz said that even though she enjoys science and doing experiments,
she wouldn't pursue it as a career. "I want to do something in sports,
I love sports," she said.
She is the daughter of Linda Ortiz and Ikeler is the daughter of Melonie
and Robert Ikeler.
"Unmixable Water," by Syra Mendoza and Jesseca Perea, won third place
in Fifth Grade Earth and Space Science. This project showed that hot water
molecules are like hot air molecules. The young scientists used colored
water to prove that hot water in the top of a jar would not mix with cold
water in the bottom of the jar.
"Jesseca is the one who thought of this project," said Mendoza. "I like
science a lot."
And someday, she might be sharing her knowledge with others, since she
plans to become a teacher. "I don't know what subjects I want to teach,
but that's what I want to do, is be a teacher," she said.
Mendoza is the daughter of Velia and Robert Mendoza.
Phillip Ramos and Huric Salgado were awarded a special award from the
National Association of Corrosion Engineers for their project, "Effects
of Oil on Plant Growth." These young men demonstrated how pollution, such
as motor oil effects the growth of bean plants.
"This project turned out good and we found out that it affects it in
a bad way," said Ramos.
Ramos is the son of Phyllis and Alvin Rodriguez, while Salgado is the
son of Magda and Junior Salgado.
Rural hospital concerns discussed at forum
By MARI MALDONADO
PECOS, April 7, 2000 - Diversification is the key to survival for any
hospital, Reeves County Hospital Board President Hiram Greg Luna and Vice-President
Marcella Lovett learned at the Texas Healthcare Trustees/Texas Hospital
Association (THT/THA) Spring Forum 2000.
Luna and Lovett were in Corpus Christi for the annual conference March
10 and 11.
Lovett said some of the topics covered under "Board Governance: Coming
Attractions," included, "Being a Trustee in the 21st Century." She said
those in attendance were told, "that it will require all of the trustees
leadership skills as they face the many challenges ahead."
"They must look beyond the problems of yesterday and today and create
solutions for tomorrow with the emerging trends, as hospitals are having
to diversify to stay alive," Lovett added.
One of the featured guests at the forum was James Orlikoff, president
of Orlikoff and Associates, the leading authority in today's healthcare
field. He met with Luna and Lovett after the session and complimented the
RCH board members, "for coming such a long way in such a short time and
being so successful," said the Lovett, and on keeping the local hospital,
"alive" in today's rural marketplace.
She said board members were told that many hospitals in Texas are choosing
to become Critical Access Hospitals (CAH), "like the one in Ballinger,"
Lovett said, which is struggling to survive financially.
Under CAH status rural hospitals can continue to provide access to basic
quality care for their citizens without having to maintain a full spectrum
of services. They stabilize patients before they are transferred to a larger
"Due to the foresight of the administration and the RCH Board of Trustees
we are able to offer a full spectrum of services, and for the first time
in the history of the hospital Reeves County Hospital is strong financially,"
Another session was entitled "Physician Recruitment for Rural Hospitals."
and Lovett said, "it was discouraging to find this is the tightest `doctor'
market there has been in over 30 years."
Government standards require 65 primary care physicians per 100,000
people, she said, quoting numbers supplied at the session. The actual numbers
showed 36 PCPs for Odessa, which has a population near 100,000, 45 for
Temple, 34 for Harlingen and 33 for McAllen.
"Reeves County Hospital has three recruitment firms searching for physicians,
which will be the right match for our community, with the blessings of
local physicians," she added, "but we are competing with 80 percent of
the hospitals in Texas and 40 to 60 percent of medical groups, plus the
After visiting with David Curtis of Merritt, Hawkins & Associates,
a physician recruiting company, Lovett said she was assured that RCH is
doing everything recruiters advise, "and we are in the middle of the low
to upper range for income. It was disheartening to know that most family
physicians did not want to practice in rural America."
In 1998, Luna and Lovett were appointed by the THT/THA to the prestigious
Trustee Network of Texas. The organization was created to play a role as
an advocate for health care public policy issues, and meets several times
"There are only three rural hospitals represented on the 60-member committee
from all the hospital boards in the State of Texas and it was quite an
honor for Mr. Luna and I to serve on this committee," Lovett said.
"We are active politically and receive information weekly about cuts
the state and federal governments `inflict' upon the healthcare industry,"
she added. "The Balanced Budget Act of 1997 has been devastating to rural
hospitals, and healthcare in general, and we have been very successful
in getting the attention of legislators about our concerns for rural healthcare."
Richard Hoeth, vice-president of Rural Health with the Texas Hospital
Association and former RCH administrator, was complimentary of the administration
and board while meeting with Lovett and Luna at the forum. He cited the
upgrading of the hospital since he served there during the mid-1990s.
"He stated it was nice to have Reeves County Hospital represented as
a `good' example now and not the `bad', at the trustee conference," Lovett
Senior center pact, water resolution on county agenda
PECOS, April 7, 2000 - A Balmorhea Senior Center Contract and Madera Valley
Water Resolution will be topics of discussion at the regular Reeves County
Commissioners Court meeting scheduled for Monday.
The group will meet at 9:40 a.m. on the third floor of the courthouse
and the public is invited to attend.
Commissioners will discuss Baron Risk Management request to settle insurance
claim for Trans Pecos Drug Task Force and the road and bridges department.
The group will discuss and approve the Pecos Volunteer Fire Department
rescue cam purchase; Banes General Contractors request for payment number
12; DRG Architect request for payment; Reeves County Sheriff's Office request
for new copier and Criminal Justice Department Juvenile Accountability
Commissioners will discuss Veterans Service Officer status; the Reeves
County Library Board and Lay representative terms; the independent audit
report FY 1999 and the Community Recreation Department membership for the
143rd Judicial District Staff.
AUSTIN (AP) - Results of the Cash 5 drawing Thursday night: Winning numbers
drawn: 4-7-19-20-34. Number matching five of five: 2. Prize per winner:
$39,775. Winning tickets sold in: Edinburg, Mesquite. Matching four of
five: 246. Prize: $485.
AUSTIN (AP) - The winning Pick 3 numbers drawn Thursday by the Texas
Lottery, in order: 7-9-3 (seven, nine, three)
PECOS, April 7, 2000 - High Thursday 94. Low this morning 61. Forecast
for tonight: Clear and breezy. Low around 40. Northeast wind 15-25 mph.
Saturday: Mostly sunny and cooler. High in the mid 70s. East wind 10-20
mph. Saturday night: Partly cloudy. Low 40-45. Sunday: Partly cloudy. Low
in the mid 40s. High in the lower to mid 80s.
York M. "Smokey" Briggs, Publisher
Division of Buckner News Alliance, Inc.
324 S. Cedar St., Pecos, TX 79772
Phone 915-445-5475, FAX 915-445-4321
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Copyright 2000 by Pecos Enterprise